Ask anyone that’s ever been at an AVP tournament, “What’s your favorite, magic moment?” From the pro players to the fans in the sand, you might be surprised what answers they give. So, we went ahead and asked a couple of AVP athletes to share theirs.
Olympian and AVP veteran Sean Rosenthal, remembers taking part in the event in Hermosa Beach, Calif., just blocks away from where he learned the game.
“My favorite memory of the AVP was 1997, Hermosa Beach Grand Slam,” Rosenthal said. “It was the first tournament I qualified for, which is why I remember it so well. Dain Blanton won with Canyon Ceman and I believe it was Dain’s first win (it was). It was a great tournament, a great weekend for me.”
Playing with Sean Smith, Rosenthal finished 49th place, also known as dead last. Rosenthal has gone on to win 12 career AVP crowns and appear in two Olympiads (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) and earn the nickname “Superman” for his other-worldly exploits on the court.
Location also meant a lot for up-and-comer Brittany Howard:
“I’m from Northern California and I grew up going to the AVP San Francisco,” she said. “I looked forward to it every summer and now that I got to actually compete in that event was just a dream come true.”
For Avery Drost, it was another moment in a final.
Drost tells us, “The match that I watched live in Santa Barbara that made me fall in love with the AVP,” he recalled. “Brad Keenan and Johnny Hyden were up 14-9 in the third on Phil (Dalhausser) and Todd (Rogers) and a lot of people were saying it was the greatest comeback ever. At that time I had never seen anything like it and I fell in love with the AVP for real at that moment.”
Rogers and Dalhausser, then coming off their Olympic gold medal performance in Beijing, outlasted Hyden and Keenan, 20-18, in that third set. Besides being Avery’s favorite AVP moment, the lasting expression “never serve Phil on match point,” was born (Todd was being served all match, until Keenan mistakenly served Phil on match point). Who would have known that that one epic match Drost saw in 2008 (when he was 22) would set him on the path to AVP greatness.